Fishermen in Malpe want a crackdown on unconventional methods to catch cuttlefish

A large number of fishermen staged a protest at the entrance of the Malpe fisheries harbour here on Thursday demanding a ban on entry of boats from other States into the 12 nautical miles off the Karnataka shore.

The protest was organised by the Malpe Fishermen’s Association.

They demanded a ban on non-traditional method of catching cuttlefish.

Since the fishermen observed a ‘bandh’ from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., none of the boats belonging to the association went for fishing on Thursday. The shops close to the harbour were also closed.

K. Raghupati Bhat, MLA, said that so far there had been no law banning the entry of boats from other States into the waters of Karnataka. He said he had spoken to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on the issue.

Mr. Shettar had assured him that a legislation on the issue would be passed in the winter session of the Legislature, which would begin in Belgaum on December 4.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner M.T. Reju has issued an order banning traditional fishing by all gillnet and mechanised boats from other States within 10 km off the Udupi district’s seashore. Catching f cuttlefish through non-traditional method has been declared unlawful.

Mr. Bhat said the ban on fishing by non-Karnataka boats off the Udupi shores would be in vogue until December 5, the Deputy Commissioner had promised to extend it for another 15 days. This would continue until such time the State government passed a legislation to resolve the issue, Mr. Bhat said.

Earlier, Hiriyanna T. Kediyoor, president of the association, said the organisation wanted a ban on the entry of all boats from other States in the 12 nautical-mile area from seashore in the State. Anyone selling fish by the seashore should be made to pay a fine five times the value of the fish being sold, he demanded.

The government should ban use of non-traditional methods to catch cuttlefish. Stating that the fishermen were losing patience, he warned the authorities to fulfil their demands. “Failing which the association will hold a meeting to decide the future course of action,” he said.

Yashpal Suvarna, president of the Udupi and Dakshina Kannada District Fish Marketing Federation; Gopal Kundar, president of the Deep Sea Trawlers’ Association; Umesh Acharya, president of Malpe Workers Association; and Gopal R.K., secretary of the Malpe Traditional Boat Owners Association, addressed the protesters.

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